I’m not exactly sure what to say about the readings for book club on Monday. None of the cohort are in my book club group, so anything that I say is pretty irrelevant to you all.
My main observation is how depressing nearly all of the stories we’re reading are. We’ll be talking about themes of loss, death, suicide, murder, and politics. Certainly, I can’t call myself exempt from the depressing themes. The story Kelly and I picked (“In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” by Amy Hempel) deals with death and grief. It’s a great story, but not especially uplifting.
A couple of the stories are told almost entirely through dialog – “The Blind Spot,” “Murder and Suicide, Respectively,” and “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” I do appreciate a story with good dialog, and these three stories are an excellent spread of examples for using dialog effectively for different reasons. They’re really great examples of the art of writing, and I wonder how much the discussions will get into this. Kelly and I tried to keep our discussion outside of the realm of writerly craft, largely because Kelly is a writer and former writing teacher and I have minor in writing, so we could probably talk at great length on topics that are… um… less than engaging to most people. Give us an inch, we’ll take a mile. Fair warning.
I will be curious to see how the discussions about these stories turn out – whether or not I’ll find the discussions to be as depressing as I am imagining them to be and to what extent the conversations will overlap and flow together, considering the similarities between the texts.